Dog With Addisons Suffering From Middle of the Night Distress

by Susan CF
(Boulder, Colorado, USA)

Reader Question on Night Distress in Dog

Our 7 year old standard poodle with Addison's disease (diagnosed at 3 years old) has woken us up twice in the last month with panting, front legs outstretched scratching, unable to get up and lying in urine. He is on Percorten-V every 25 days, with supplemental prednisone (1.5mg - 7mg) per day. Normally he drinks a lot of water (more with the higher doses of prednisone) with a normal appetite. Took him into an all-night emergency clinic during first episode - they found nothing and blood work (chem panel with electrolytes) was normal. Speaking with my regular vet later in the day, she was unsure what might be happening.

Each time within a couple hours he seems back to normal after some pacing and restlessness.


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Aug 16, 2014
Veterinarian Suggestion on Dog Distress at Night
by: Jennifer Coates, DVM

Hi Susan,

Based on the description of your dog’s clinical signs and blood work, it sounds as if his Addison’s disease is well controlled. If that is the case, it is time to look elsewhere for the cause of his symptoms. What you describe could be related to several different diseases, but tops on my rule out list would be a seizure disorder. Showing a video of one of his episodes to your veterinarian could help with reaching a diagnosis.

If seizures are the cause of your dog’s symptoms, I would recommend a complete health work up to look for a potential underlying cause. This could include a physical examination, neurologic examination, blood work (including electrolyte levels), urinalysis, fecal examination, and possibly some other tests based on your dog’s situation. If everything comes back looking good, your veterinarian will probably diagnose idiopathic epilepsy.

He or she may recommend taking a “wait and see” approach or prescribe medications to control the seizures depending on their severity and frequency.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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